Open thread: Your favorite lunch is…

I have to tell you that although I find packing to be a hassle, I absolutely love to eat my own lunch. I treasure it. I feel special when I open up my lunch box and find something I packed for myself. Rediscovering lunch has been wonderful.

Friday was pizza day and in the teacher’s lounge there was a teacher eating it. I could barely look at her. Been there done that — 29 times to be exact.

What’s your favorite thing to eat for lunch? What was your favorite thing to eat as a child for lunch? I don’t know if I can nail it done to one lunch. But this week I enjoyed tomato soup one day and yesterday I ate tuna. Comforting. When I was a kid I loved bologna sandwiches, whole wheat bread, little bit of mayo, and a crisp piece of lettuce on top. Those were the days before organic, back when food was just food. Simple pleasure of a sandwich.

(I’m going to share pics of our week in lunches in a later post. It’s nap time and I need to do some stuff. Are you sure you still want to see what my son and I are eating? Let me know if they are boring to you and you want me to stop!)

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39 Responses to Open thread: Your favorite lunch is…

  1. Meg January 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    My favorite lunch at the moment, since it has been so cold here in the northeastern US, is a big bowl of oatmeal with some dried fruit mixed in. Warming, filling, simple. As a kid, though, I wouldn't have touched the stuff. My favorite lunch as a kid (and a comforting throwback as an adult) was grilled cheese and tomato soup.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm still very interested to see what you and your son are having each week–it gives me great new ideas!

  2. beyond January 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    YES please, we want to see what your son and you are eating.
    (in the early 80s, canada) about twice a month, i was allowed a school lunch: hotdogs and tomato soup. i loved it so much.
    my favorite lunches from home were bologna sandwiches, with mayo and relish. my favorite bread was wonderbread, which my mother hardly ever let us have, because she made her own. of course, i didn't know how incredibly lucky i was…

  3. Lauren January 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    I love seeing what you guys eat. It's so creative! My favorites lunch rifht now is a turkey avocado sandwich with lettuce and tomato and just a but of mustard. Boring but delish! And because my husband is out of town I've been getting my fix of brussel sprouts so I have those roasted on the side. My fave old lunch was grilled cheese on wheat with grape jelly. Yum!

  4. Justine January 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    One of my favorite things for lunch was a chicken salad sandwich or a tuna sandwich. YUM!

    Just Better Together is having a giveaway!

  5. Justine January 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    I'd love to see what you and your son eats. I love to see what you pack for his lunches too!

    Just Better Together is having a giveaway!

  6. Mamie January 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    I love seeing your packed lunches – I always come away with an idea for my own!

    I really enjoy having green salad in my lunch every day, with homemade dressing, homemade croutons, and feta cheese crumbled on top. Having the salad gives me something to eat while my main food waits in the "microwave line" in our busy faculty room. For the main dish I am currently loving to have homemade soup. I took some curry chicken and couscous on Friday, though, which was good – except when my principal had to leave the room because she' allergic to curry!

    My favorite packed lunch as a kid – perhaps my mom's tuna salad. At home – mom's grilled cheese.

  7. Anonymous January 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Yes, please continue blogging your son's and your lunches. Even though you are finished eating school lunches, I come back each week to see what your family is eating.

  8. o0amber0o January 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    I love a good sandwich/sub. Definitely my favorite.

    When I was a kid my favorite lunch was a school lunch (I had reduced lunches, my lunches cost .25 cents so it was cheaper than my mom sending me lunch) and it was ham and cheese bagels. I'm sure the sides were a hasbrown and choice of fruit and it came with cream cheese. I LOVED it, and in general it was a popular lunch at my school.

    I enjoy seeing what anyone is eating, so I say keep the pics of your lunches coming!

  9. Melissa Duckett January 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I didn't eat a lot of school lunches growing up until high school. We had a pasta bar on Wednesdays (holy cow, I remember what day it was!?) and I'd have plain rotini noodles. No sauce. Just noodles. That's kind of gross.
    As an adult (teacher) I bring my own lunch. Right now I've been eating the heck out of lean pockets (gross). I just got over being pregnant, where the only thing I could eat was a peanut butter sandwich. Everything else gave me horrid heartburn (hence no jelly). So, mock my lean pockets now, but they're a vast improvement.

  10. Danceluvsinglive January 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    I LOVE seeing what you pack for your self and your kid because well, I am still young-ish but very sophisticated and I read blogs for inspiration so.. as I 'kid' (since I guess you could still say I was one..) I loved it when my mom would make me cream cheese and jelly sandwiches/ tuna sandwiches and sometimes as a treat I would get grilled cheese in my lunch bag. I was actually allowed to buy everyday but mostly I chose not too. My brother does though 😛 and @Lauren is grape jelly on a grilled cheese REALLY that good.. I feel a little skeptical here…

  11. sara January 23, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    I'm a sahm so I eat my lunches at home, but my all time favorite is homemade white chili! It's soooo good 🙂 And easy to make!

  12. Tracey's Life January 23, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    My favorite lunch as a child was my Mom's tuna salad which was tuna, mayo, chopped egg and chopped gherkins pickles on homemade sour dough bread with a fresca!

  13. heatherinin January 23, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    I like to keep my lunch lighter, so my favorite lunch is a huge salad with a variety of flavors in it–this past week it was lettuce, beet, feta cheese, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and zucchini, with a balsamic vinaigrette. I also like to have StoneyField Farms vanilla yogurt with pomegranate seeds mixed in. Oh, the sweet + tart +smooth + crunch is so delightful. 🙂

    I loved grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup as a kid. I still love grilled cheese, but I tend to make it for dinner, instead.

  14. WIERD GREEN MAN January 23, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    When I was in elementary school, sides were self-serve and lunches were served on plastic trays that were non-disposable. As I absolutely refused teriyaki chicken, hamburgers, and macaroni and cheese, many days I skipped the main part of the meal. However, I could take all the vegatbles that I wanted, so I did. I basically lived on pickles, green beans and corn for two days a week at least. My favorite school lunches were pizza, pasta and pot pies. Pizza was served once a week. That was the only day that we were allowed to buy TWO, and no more main courses. If kids are not supposed to be hungry, why are they not allowed to buy enough food to fill them up? Even on days when the lunch was good, I completely filled my tray with sides until the canned vegetables threatened to run over. However, I was still hungry afterwards, but if it was not pizza day, I could not buy more lunch, even though I had lots of money with which to buy it. I am very upset that the school prevented me from eating enough to not be hungry. This is an example of RIDICULOUS policies in place at schools. Shouldn't it be illegal for me to be denied enough food to become full when I have cash?

  15. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Favorite lunches: tomato soup and grilled cheese, or plain noodles with a little butter on them These are still my favorites as an adult when I need a little comforting on a cold day

    My standard packed school lunch for most of junior high and high school: 1/2 turkey and cheese sandwich, baggie of grapes, fruit roll-up/fruit snacks and a packaged rice krispie treat for dessert. In high school I would buy a Dr. Pepper each day to go with it. I always thought it was relatively healthy – but now all I can think about is how much sugar I apparently ate each day.

    And please keep posting your lunches. It is great for ideas. I discovered the joy of coconut milk yogurt from you (already obsessed with their ice creams, but my local grocery store didn't have the yogurt)

  16. Julie VW January 23, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    My favorite lunch as a kid – ham and cheese sandwich on rye bread, chocolate milk, and cherry tomatoes. My mom packed my lunch, and I got milk at school (but chocolate milk was an occasional treat,and not offered everyday). I remember BEGGING my mom to buy rye bread to coincide with chocolate milk days.

    I love seeing your lunches, and was sad that they weren't posted this morning. Or tonight. Please share – they inspire me with ideas for my lunches!

  17. Monica January 23, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    As a kid, my favorite lunches were PB&J, or a cold leftover hot dog (there was a local place that made really good hotdogs. I never understood why all the other kids thought a cold hot dog was so gross until that local deli closed and i tried to eat a supermarket hotdog cold!), or leftover chicken with a packet of chinese-takeout duck sauce for dipping. Those were all treats, though: most days, I got a lunch-meat sandwich (usually just bread and meat), a piece of fruit, and a treat (cookies/chips/crackers/popcorn).

    Now, PB&J is still a staple, but most of my favorite lunches are leftover dinners: soups, pasta with sauce & veggies, or lentil chili & rice. I also take salads with lettuce, veggies, nuts, and fruit a lot, too. If I'm bringing a sandwich or I don't have cooked veggies to go with a leftover entree or pasta, I try to bring some fresh raw veggies. I always like to pack fruit, too, and I have certain fruits I like to pair with certain veggies: grapes or raisins with baby carrots, celery with apple, cucumber with grapes, raisins, or watermelon.

    I like lots of different things – the biggest problem for me is making sure I don't take the same thing too much and get bored with it. PB&J is pretty much the only thing I ate as a kid that I'm not STILL bored with from school lunches! If there's not at least a couple veggies to put on my sandwich, and something crunchy to go with it, I usually leave the deli meat for my husband.

  18. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    The weekly posts of your lunches are definitely my favorite! I look forward to seeing what you pack. I'm a teenager, trying to figure out what a good healthy diet is for my body. I love your blog! The nutrition and thought you put into your lunches inspires me to put more thought and time into choosing the kinds of food I should eat. I used to eat meals as quickly as I could because I had other "more important" things to do, and eating was taking up "too much time." Now I slow down and put time not only into choosing what I'm going to eat but also preparing and eating it. Thank you 🙂

  19. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Yes, I agree…I like getting inspiration from your photos!

    Usually for lunch if I am home I eat leftovers. The past couple weeks I have been enjoying a homemade salad with some arugula & beets I got from my produce delivery: juice a meyer lemon, add s&p, a little olive oil & a tblsp nf plain yogurt. Blend,. Add arugula, diced beets ( I just boil them in their skins til tender, peel off their skin w/ my fingers, dice & keep in fridge), toss. Add some crumbled feta. Optional : diced cucs, sugar snap peas…really anything I have in the fridge. Yum! I hated beets as a kid…now I can't get enough of them!

  20. Hurdles of Life January 23, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    My favorite is probably one of the grossest lunches out there (as in not healthy for you AT ALL).. Those Chicken Patty Sandwiches with a TONE of Mayo and shredded lettuce on a hamburger bun and Tater Tots (you gonna eat your Tots?).

    But our High School (mind you I had free lunch growing up) also had a salad bar (I ate that REGULARLY)! Even as a teen I would choose SALAD over HOT LUNCH… unless it was that dang Chicken Patty!

  21. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    My favorite thing to eat for lunch nowadays is a sandwich made up of buffalo mozzarella, pesto, tomato slices, and walnuts on French bread. I also really like sandwiches with avocado, tomato, and mayonnaise. I also love egg salad sandwiches with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat toast. On the side I like carrot or green pepper slices with homemade ranch dressing that I make using the recipe from the Homesick Texan blog.

    When I was a kid my favorite lunches were Lucnchables cheese pizza (my mom only gave me those once or twice a month, and I have to disagree with you Mrs. Q – I don't really think that they're all that bad if they're eaten IN MODERATION) or leftover tofu teriyaki with white rice.

  22. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    As a kid my mom packed my lunch until I was a senior in high school. It varied in amount but included one or all of the following: sandwich, pickle, tomato, chips, pudding, cheese stick, carrots, and cucumbers…and I loved every single lunch!

    Now as an adult (teacher) I crave chicken noodle soup and crackers every day for lunch, even in the summer.. I eat it every single school day with a cheese stick and during breaks I miss it.

  23. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    My favorite lunch as a kid was from the school canteen, a once a month treat- a Shepperd's pie or a meat pie with tomato sauce (ketchup), cheese popcorn (Mmmm fluorescent orange!) and an Orange fizzy drink. It all cost about $2.50 and was amazing.

    Nowadays my favorite lunch is from a Hare Krishna restaurant near my Uni campus- all you can eat lentil curry and brown rice, mango lassi, and custard hvala for desert. All for $5. Yummm.

  24. Kim January 23, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    My favorite lunch is a BLT on toasted sourdough with plenty of Duke's mayo and a slice of cheese (often pepperjack but that can vary) or some sliced avocado. Love a hot mug of Manhattan clam chowder on the side and if I'm going for broke, I'll have some bread and butter pickles, too. Dunking the BLT in the chowder is standard procedure.

    My favorite school lunch as a kid was a sloppy joe with an ice cold carton of whole white milk. They were always served with Mexicorn and applesauce (I think it was the law) which you could keep as far as I was concerned. The sloppy joes were scratch made on site. I went to school in the stone age (i.e. pre-Earl Butz farm policy). My favorite lunch at home was a fried balogna sandwich (cooked with butter and ketchup until black bits formed on the edges of the balogna) on a soft squishy oatmeal bread my mom bought in the '60s and '70s. This was a departure from the healthy choices my mom and dad usually encouraged. I'm unsure how fried balogna made it through but I loved it as a kid.

    I can relate to the comments about beets made above by an anonymous follower. I also hated them as a kid but can't get enough of them now especially with some fresh local cottage cheese, preferably large curd. I once binged on so many beets (my personal "Girl Scout cookies," Mrs. Q) that it looked like someone had dumped Hawaiian Punch in the toilet later that evening. I failed to make the association right away and went to bed extremely upset that there was blood in my urine. As soon as my alarm rang the following morning, I realized what had happened. I'm just glad I had that epiphany before I called my doctor.

  25. Penny January 23, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    One of my favourite lunches is still a nice, hearty soup, that has limitless variations. Here's a recipe from my blog: http://mindboggling-and-musings.blogspot.com/2010/09/grocery-cart-challenge-recipe-swap.html

    And the recipe's cost: ~ €2 for the entire pot of soup. So per portion, well within the $2-lunch challenge! 🙂

  26. Krisfromparis! January 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Mrs. Q…aren't any teachers or school staff surprised NOT to see you eat school lunch anymore, after you did so for many months in a row? or do you say you had to switch to packed lunches because of gluten-free concerns?

  27. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    …3 ounces of sardines, canned with skin and bones, provides somewhere between 320 to 450 mg. of calcium. Remove the skin and bones and the calcium content is drastically reduced. The bones and skin are where it's at, so don't be throwin' all the good nutrition into the trash!

  28. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    As a kid my favourite lunch hands down was a PB and J sandwich, which I feel the need to qualify after seeing photos of the things your school calls a PB and J sandwich! My mum used healthy bread and real PB and real jam. Even at 41, if I get a chance, I'll get my mother (who is now in her mid-70s) to make me a PB and J. Sure I can make my own, but it's not the same. It was better when I was a kid, because then the raspberry jam was homemade by my Granny. So, in some ways, you could say that this is still my favourite lunch. 🙂

    We have a microwave at work, so I either take some leftovers from some dinner that I've frozen. Or I have a bowl of homemade soup and a sandwich (yes a PB and J, regularly!).

  29. Anonymous January 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    If I could survive solely on tuna sandwiches, I probably would. Both as a kid and as an adult. However, I am well aware that the world is split into 50-50: people who love tuna, and people who run retching from the room if someone is eating tuna. Due to the outrageously negative reactions to tuna over the years, I've taken to only eating it from the comfort of my own home. There was one place I worked at however, where we took a poll and the general consensus was that we were all fine with tuna in the break room, and it's amazing how fast people began to bring tuna for lunches/snacks once they knew it was ok. I didn't realize so many people were closet tuna freaks like I am.

    I also never underestimate the power of grilled cheese and tomato soup. That's another combo I could live off of. I almost always take soup to work for lunch, because it's so damn fast. If I make soup for dinner, a couple ladles full of leftover soup into a tupperware and bam. Lunch. If there's no homemade soup, canned soup will do just fine. Open the can, dump it into a tupperware, add the water, snap the lid. Lunch. It's filling, it's nutritious, and when you've got a microwave in the breakroom, it's such a no-brainer. Hot food in 3 minutes that keeps me full all afternoon? Yes please.

    As a kid I practically lived on peanut butter and jelly through middle/high school. I was so burned out by the time I graduated that PB&J was a four letter word for nearly 10 years.

  30. Deanne January 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    My favorite school lunch as a kid was either beans and cornbread with spinach and carrot stick, served with fruit cobbler or scoop of tuna salad, homemade hotrolls, with half of a baked potato and chocolate cake. I started school in the early 60s, and we really DID have real food. 😀

    Work lunches for me now are dinner leftovers, usually. Not inspiring, but others are jealous and I can escape sandwiches everyday.

    I also wondered if anyone has noticed that you aren't hanging out in the lunchroom.

  31. Midnite Skys January 24, 2011 at 4:57 am #

    favorite lunches : when it is cold out I like warm foods.or foods I can warm up (we have a microwave and a toaster oven in our break-room) … like fired rice or soup.
    When it is warm out I like cold foods like fruit salads, BLT plus cheese salad, bacon bits, tomatoes, and croutons ,or cold pizza or chicken from the night before….

  32. Christina January 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    May favorite lunch as an adult is hummus, cheese, cherry tomatos, jalapinos and crackers (those good ones with all the seeds on em) and hot or cold tea depending on the temperature outside and for dessert some yogurt with fruit and granola. I would rather have a lot of little things to nibble on rather than a couple large things.

    As a kid I love a grilled cheese with chicken and stars soup.

  33. Melissa January 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    When I was a child my mom usually packed my lunch. I always looked forward to a ham and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato. She always packed a lod of other crap: chips, Little Debbie Snack cakes, cookies, etc. Ugh! On the rare occassion I would buy lunch, my favorite was mexican pizza. Looking back I think of how gross it really was. I have no clue what it is, maybe cheddar cheese and some deep red colored sauce, who knows.

    As an adult I have a three favorite lunches. My all-time fav is a big salad made with romaine and spinach topped with chunks of grilled chicken breast, cucumber, red onion, tomato, avacado, a little cheese and homemade ranch dressing. I am also a big fan of veggies on whole wheat bread with a smear of avacado. Last, I love a baked potato topped with a small dallop of sour cream, pepper and green onion. Top it all off with iced tea and you have one happy lady!

  34. Anonymous January 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    I live and work at a boarding school where all faculty members are welcome (and encouraged) to eat three meals a day in the dining hall. I eat my breakfast and lunch there regularly, but enjoy dinners at home as often as my schedule allows. My favorite lunch, especially in the winter months, is on Mexican Fiesta Day. They'll often have vegan taco "meat" crumbles and vegetarian refried beans on the hot table. I get some salad greens, add the soy crumbles and some refrieds, and top it all with salsa, a spot of sour cream, and a spoonful of guacamole. Yum, yum!

  35. Maine Mom January 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    I cheese sandwich, on Rye Bread, with mayo, grainy mustard, lettuce and tomato. Sometime I omit the mustard, lettuce and tomato – but add some mild banana pepper slices and melt it open faced under the broiler. Cheese sandwiches are my lunch – because I have so many different versions of them through out the year – weather depending. occasionally I switch it up – maybe once a week – with a tuna salad bowl/sandwich/melt or maybe once a month a BLT? Oh no.. now I am hungry.
    BTW, I am a just pack it Mom. In fact, for my three, I have been as "garbage free" as possible. I use the Lunchopolis lunch boxes too. Still my kids BEG for hot lunch – it's an occasional treat! I kid you not they think of it as some sort of junk food fix a la McDonalds. Kid crack!?

  36. summer January 25, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Re: What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch? What was your favorite thing to eat as a child for lunch? I don't know if I can nail it done to one lunch. But this week I enjoyed tomato soup one day and yesterday I ate tuna.
    ——–
    When I was a kid growing up, in the junior high schools we had cooks who always made: homemade soups. Just delicious. One or two huge bowls of homemade soup and a crust of bread, now THAT was lunch! I think I had soup every single day for three years at that school.

  37. Jenn January 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    My favorite thing right now is my own homemade rendition of Panera's Toato Mozzarella Panini.

    When I was a child, my absolute favorite food was grilled cheese and Campbell's tomato soup. I still love that meal and crave it every so often.

    As far as school food goes, my favorite was the chili and peanut butter sandwiches. They were always served together. They also had these little packets of Diamond brand Smokehouse Almonds. I loved when I had some extra money to get a pack or two.

  38. Mrs. Q January 26, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    YUM!!! You guys are making me hungry!

  39. QueenMab January 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    I definitely enjoy seeing your lunches- and would actually love seeing your dinners, as well, for new ideas. You eat very differently than I do, and I've found all kinds of things to try.

    My favorite lunch lately is beans and rice. On weekends, I throw it all in the crock (beans, meat, veggies, homemade chicken stock) and then freeze it in serving size containers. I make fresh, plain jasmine rice once or twice during the week. I am on a black bean kick lately, but I've done this with several kinds of beans, and it is the ultimate comfort food for me.

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